NEW ARTICLE | Sentimental and Redemptive Girlhood in the Abolitionist Adaptation of Maria Susanna Cummins’s The Lamplighter
Lindey, Sara. “Sentimental and Redemptive Girlhood in the Abolitionist Adaptation of Maria Susanna Cummins’s The Lamplighter.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 43, no. 1 (2018): 4–27.
Mid-nineteenth-century fictional girls play powerful roles in the era’s political activism as sentimental sisters and redemptive daughters. This essay maps sentimental and redemptive girlhood discourses in an antislavery picture book that attempts to cast its heroine as both kinds of girls at once. The adaptation of Maria Susanna Cummins’s novel The Lamplighter animates recognizable scenes of submission and ministration central to both discourses. This conflation forecasts a new type of activism, predicting heroines more powerful than the two types that sponsor them. The story depicts the political roles that girls and women play while suggesting ways to regulate the female.